For many, the smell of Worcestershire sauce elicits thoughts of summer cookouts and memories with family and friends.
In 1835, this beloved condiment found its way into the world by accident in Worcester, England, and continues to be a popular product to this day. There are many options on the market, so we’ll recommend the best Worcestershire sauce brand based on our four favorites.
1. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
Best for: People wanting the oldest, most traditional Worcestershire sauce on the market.
Lea & Perrins is considered by many to be the best Worcestershire sauce brand. Chemists John Lea and William Perrins founded their Worcestershire sauce in 1835 after tucking away a bottle they had made and disliked. A few years passed before they found it, tasted it, and fell in love with its savory fermented flavor.
Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce is so famous that Insider ran an article about their nearly 200-year-old recipe. The sauce’s unique flavor comes from pickling onion and garlic cloves for up to 18 months and aging Spanish anchovies in salt for two years.
However, the Lea & Perrins brand keeps the exact recipe a secret—only a few people have had access to it in its history. Nowadays, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce is available in more than 75 countries. In its home region of the UK, it’s famous for being paired with cheese on toast.
Although exporting Worcestershire sauce is a breeze nowadays, it didn’t always use to be that way. Lea & Perrins struggled with profit loss from broken glass bottles during long international trade voyages on a choppy sea. And so, they wrapped their Worcestershire sauce bottles in paper to reduce breakage. The paper wrap is still used today for visual appeal as part of Lea & Perrins’ trusted brand.
Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce comes in a resealable 10-ounce bottle. It contains many characteristics that other Worcestershire sauce companies have imitated, including being free of gluten, preservatives, cholesterol, and fat. It also contains 80% less sodium than soy sauce.
Its bold flavors are derived, in part, from tangy tamarind extract and hot chili peppers, that’s counteracted with the sweetness of molasses. The lengthy fermentation and aging process are what give Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce its classic taste.
The company jokes that since Worcestershire sauce is such a tongue twister and there are three different ways to pronounce it, it’s just easier to call it Lea & Perrins.
Standout features of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce:
- The original Worcestershire sauce recipe
- Attractive packaging, making it great for gift-giving
- 80% less sodium than soy sauce
2. French's Worcestershire Sauce
Best for: Large families and restaurants wanting a classic Worcestershire sauce taste.
Let’s hop across the pond with French’s delicious Worcestershire Sauce. Don’t let the company name fool you—French’s is an American brand founded by George and Francis French in 1904. According to their timeline, George and Francis released their Worcestershire sauce product in 1941, meaning over 100 years had passed since John Lea and William Perrins’ discovery.
It was worth the wait, though. French’s Worcestershire sauce uses high-quality ingredients with signature spices. Their product is free of high fructose corn syrup and nuts. They’re so confident that you’ll love their recipe that they sell their Worcestershire sauce in a 1-gallon plastic container.
Therefore, French’s is an excellent choice for large families or restaurants that use large quantities of Worcestershire sauce. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you need such a large bottle, consider this: Worcestershire sauce contains many ingredients that aren’t prone to aging, so it has a long shelf life.
When comparing French’s ingredient list with Lea & Perrins’, there are many similarities compared to other Worcestershire sauce companies. These have diverged some to reduce costs or to cater to other dietary needs, such as for vegans. For example, French’s Worcestershire sauce uses anchovies, whereas more modern brands have shied away from this ingredient.
Part of what makes many Worcestershire sauces so delicious is the aging of anchovies in salt. However, executives at French’s know that this isn’t a suitable situation for people requiring a low sodium diet. So, they offer a “Classic” version and a “Reduced Sodium” version of their Worcestershire sauce.
The French’s Classic Worcestershire sauce contains 65mg of sodium. In contrast, its Reduced Sodium version product contains 30% less sodium, logging in at 45mg. The Reduced Sodium also contains 0g of sugar, whereas the Classic has 1g of sugar.
Standout features of French’s Worcestershire Sauce:
- Reduced sodium version with 30% less sugar
- An excellent option for large families and restaurants due to its 1-gallon packaging
- Signature spices and high-quality ingredients
3. The Wizard's Worcestershire Sauce
Best for: Vegetarians, vegans, and anyone who isn’t keen on having anchovies in their Worcestershire sauce.
The Wizard’s Worcestershire Sauce is part of the Edward & Sons Trading Company. It became part of Edward & Sons in 1998, and the company is proud that it was the first vegetarian and vegan Worcestershire sauce on the market.
Fans of The Wizard’s Worcestershire Sauce praise this product for tasting like the real thing despite not containing anchovies, which is traditionally believed to be a critical component of Worcestershire sauce. Of all the Worcestershire sauce reviews, this product has an excellent reputation for satisfying the niche market of vegetarians, vegans, and people with fish allergies.
What makes The Wizard’s Worcestershire Sauce stand apart from its competitors is a unique combination of ingredients that aren’t typically part of traditional Worcestershire sauces. They include wheat-free tamari, ginger, lemon juice, shiitake mushroom powder, orange extract, and a natural smoke flavor.
At one gram of sugar, The Wizard’s Worcestershire Sauce is on par with most of its competition. However, it has a higher sodium content than most, at 105mg, which is common for vegetarian and vegan substitutes. When it comes to consistency, this Worcestershire sauce is on the thick side.
The Wizard’s Worcestershire Sauce comes in an attractive 8.5-ounce glass bottle. You can purchase it in a traditional organic vegan variety and an organic, gluten-free, vegan variety. People with gluten intolerances will be comforted to know that the gluten-free version of this product undergoes random testing. They also limit gluten detection to 5 parts per million (ppm), whereas the standard limit is 10 – 20 ppm.
By purchasing The Wizard’s Worcestershire Sauce, you’ll be supporting a company that values environmental sustainability. All products are USDA organic, Non-GMO Project verified, and free of BPA packaging. They’re also vegetarian, with many products suitable for vegans.
Standout features of The Wizard’s Worcestershire Sauce:
- Anchovy-free, making it suitable for vegetarians and vegans
- USDA Organic
- A unique blend of premium ingredients with vegan and gluten-free vegan varieties
4. Wan Jan Shan Gluten-Free Worcestershire Sauce
Best for: An economic organic, kosher, gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian-friendly Worcestershire sauce.
Wan Jan Shan Gluten-Free Worcestershire Sauce is an excellent option for vegetarians and vegans since anchovies aren’t among its ingredients.
Unlike The Wizard’s Worcestershire Sauce, Wan Jan Shan’s version is simpler in composition. Its ingredients include vinegar, wheat-free tamari soy sauce, evaporated cane juice, salt, and spices. It doesn’t contain sugar, but a 169mg sodium count for a serving makes it the saltiest Worcestershire sauce on this list.
Wan Jan Shan Gluten-Free Worcestershire Sauce is a USA product, handcrafted and brewed in New York. Quality Assurance International (QAI), a USDA-accredited agency that confirms organic products, certified that it’s organic. There aren’t any artificial additives or preservatives in this Worcestershire sauce.
Since Worcestershire Sauce has a long shelf life, you won’t have to worry about your Wan Jan Shan bottle going bad quickly. However, consider storing it in the fridge to keep its flavor locked in for a longer period. Its acidity is 2% or higher.
Wan Jan Shan Gluten-Free Worcestershire Sauce’s 10-ounce glass bottle has a simple design. It’s an excellent option for people with dietary needs wanting a more economical Worcestershire sauce than The Wizard’s brand.
People who enjoy thinner Worcestershire sauce will love Wan Jan Shan’s product. Because of its flavorful qualities and that it already comes with a fair amount of sodium, you’ll likely find that you won’t need to add any extra spices or condiments when preparing your food.
Standout features of Wan Jan Shan Gluten-Free Worcestershire Sauce:
- Organic, gluten-free, kosher, vegan, and vegetarian all in the same bottle
- GMO-free, QAI Certified, and EU compliant
- No artificial additives or preservatives
Worcestershire Sauce FAQ
We hope by now you’ve decided which is the best Worcestershire sauce for your taste. In this section, we’ll answer common questions about Worcestershire sauce.
What are the main ingredients in Worcestershire sauce?
The base ingredients in traditional Worcestershire sauce are distilled white vinegar, molasses, onion, garlic, tamarind, salt, and anchovies. Some companies include additional ingredients such as black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, soy sauce, and sugar.
What is Worcestershire sauce used for?
Worcestershire sauce is a versatile condiment used on meats, salads, and in combination with other sauces such as soy, fish, and oyster sauce.
What does Worcestershire sauce do to meat?
Aside from its savory qualities, Worcestershire sauce tenderizes tough meat. Vinegar helps to penetrate deep into the meat, and sugar gives it its iconic glossy shine.
How long does Worcestershire sauce last?
Worcestershire sauce enjoys a long shelf life thanks to its hearty ingredients. In fact, certain ingredients are aged 18 months or more before they produce the sauce. As a general rule, Worcestershire sauce is good for 2 – 3 years after opening.
How can you tell if Worcestershire sauce is bad?
It takes a long time for Worcestershire sauce to go bad, but there are a few things to look out for once it does. Strange odors, a decrease in flavor, and mold are all signs you should toss out your Worcestershire bottle.
Does Worcestershire sauce need refrigeration?
Worcestershire sauce stays good with and without refrigeration. That’s because vinegar and molasses, two of the biggest components in the sauce, never need to be stored in the fridge. If you plan on using your Worcestershire sauce only once in a while over the course of years, it’s best to store it in the refrigerator to maximize its flavor.
It’s important to note that you should decide to store Worcestershire sauce in the fridge or pantry before you crack open a bottle. That’s because if you go back and forth between storing it in the refrigerator and at room temperature, its flavor and shelf life may decrease.
Is Worcestershire sauce vegetarian or vegan?
Traditional Worcestershire sauce isn’t vegetarian or vegan since it contains anchovies. However, some modern-day Worcestershire sauces come in vegetarian and vegan forms, such as The Wizard’s and Wan Jan Shan brands.
Is Worcestershire sauce the same as soy sauce?
Although Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce are often mistaken for each other because of their consistency, they have distinct flavors. Soy sauce’s main ingredients are soybeans and wheat, whereas Worcestershire sauce’s main ingredients are vinegar and molasses. Unlike soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce undergoes fermentation for up to two years.
Is Worcestershire sauce healthy?
Worcestershire sauce has a lot of sugar, so it isn’t a healthy option for people with diabetes and those watching their sugar intake. However, when used in moderation, Worcestershire sauce isn’t an unhealthy condiment for the average person, especially since it’s fermented, making it a source of probiotics.
Worcestershire sauce serves as both a comfort condiment and a practical way to tenderize meat. Since it’s possible to swap its ingredients for others without losing its quality, it’s an accessible option for people with various dietary needs.
Die-hard Worcestershire sauce fans will delight in Lea & Perrins’ traditional recipe. In contrast, French’s is perfect for those wanting a Lea & Perrins-like taste on a larger scale, such as for restaurants and large families.
Vegetarians, vegans, and people with fish allergies will find The Wizard’s Worcestershire Sauce perfect if they like a thicker consistency with unique spices. Alternatively, this same group of people will take comfort in Wan Jan Shan’s gluten-free version that offers a thinner consistency and fewer ingredients.
What are you waiting for? Go on and give these recommendations a try.
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